(Independent) Quantum computing may come a huge price. Tim Callan, a senior fellow at cybersecurity firm Sectigo, warns that the advent of these era-defining machines could result in what he refers to as a “quantum apocalypse”.
Government, education, business and healthcare data could all be compromised by quantum computers, as they will be orders of magnitude faster than the calculations needed to break current encryption.
“Our modern systems of finance, commerce, communication, transportation, manufacturing, energy, government, and healthcare will for all intents and purposes cease to function,” warned Callan.
Fortunately, there may be a solution. Work is currently underway to create quantum-resistant algorithms that would protect against the end of our digital world as we know it. National Institute for Standards and Technology (Nist) in leading the way against a quantum apocalypse. More than 20 potential algorithms are already being scrutinised by the agency, though it is too early to know if even one of them is suitable for the task.
Research into figuring out exactly how long it will take for quantum computers to reach this danger point is being pioneered by Michele Mosca, co-founder of the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo in Canada.
Through Mosca’s reseach, this point has come to be known as the “Z date”, and was estimated in 2016 to have a 15 per cent chance of arriving before 2026. With Google’s latest research, these odds may well have increased.